Mental health improvements from your Pilates Practice.

You may not be aware that it is mental health awareness week in the UK and after the last year this seems more important than ever to talk about mental health. Mental health and the issues that surround it are not to be made light of and the intention of this blog isn’t to do that – if you are experiencing mental health difficulties it is important to seek help; there in no stigma in needing help especially now when we are going through such unprecedented times. 

With that in mind though doing all we can to help ourselves is also important and this is where exercise comes in and especially Pilates. We focus so much on the physical benefits of exercise we often miss the mental health benefits that we get as an added bonus. 

With our modern world full of distractions, it can be hard to tune out the noise of everyday living and find space for calm thought and a quiet mind. Many people who practice meditation know the benefits of time spend in quiet contemplations allowing us to bring balance back into our lives and world, but we don’t often think of exercise offering the same benefits – we see exercise as hard and often fast work which raises adrenaline, but Pilates can offer us the best of both. 

Pilates has 6 core principles; one of which is concentration. During your Pilates practice your thoughts will turn inwards focusing on your body and being aware of the way it moves. Rather than sitting on your mat and saying “OM” you will practice repetitive movements, controlling the tempo and staying connected with your body. This means that although you won’t be “meditating” per say you may walk away feeling like you have. Meditation and similar activities have been shown to relieve depression and anxiety, improve sleep patterns, reduce stress levels and improve mood. 

Above all, learn to breath correctly – Joseph Pilates 

Pilates also helps to reduces the physical tension caused by stress levels. By breathing deeply while working in full range movements you will facilitates the release/≥ of physical stress. We can carry our “emotional baggage” in our body – lifting our shoulder towards our ears and/or tightening our hips restricting our daily movements Pilates give you the time and space to release that tension and find a better way of moving.  

Pilates teaches you to love and respect your body. Pilates is practice whether you are new or have been doing it for a while; we can all struggle to perfect the next level exercise but then feel the joy as we perfect it. Pilates connects you with your own strength and power. Pilates also connects you with your confidence, psychologist’s know that “power” posture (think about your superhero pose J) helps people to feel more confident. Now Pilates won’t have you standing hands on hips battling a super villains, but it will have you standing with your head up, shoulders back and your weight balanced through your body. Standing this way breeds confidence. 

Through the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind and spirit can be attained. Self-confidence follows – Joseph Pilates 

Final thought, if you are still not convinced a 2011 study ( showed that Pilates has positive benefits on life satisfaction, physical self-concept and perception of health so whether it is working or not you will feel like it is!

Hope to see you at the studio soon. x


You may also like...